By Steve Corkran
Saturday, April 28th, 2012 at 1:50 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Here is the entire transcript from a conference call with fifth-round draft pick defensive end Jack Crawford:
Q: Did you know Raiders were interested in you?
A: Yeah, the Raiders were one of the teams I was close to from the beginning, since the Combine. It was good to seem them come through and give me an opportunity like this.
Q: Did they have you out here for a visit?
Q: Have you taken a moment to reflect how unlikely this is, given how long and how far you’ve come?
A: It’s crazy. It’s a little emotional right now, everybody is crying. It’s so unlikely. I told myself coming into this situation that I wasn’t going to get upset if I didn’t get drafted. I have come so far already. I am just so happy. This is one of the best days of my life.
Q: Saw you worked out with Tre Thomas. How much did that help you?
A: Yeah. He is just so insightful and he has so much experience. It was good to see things from an offensive tackle’s perspective. It helped me out so much. He told me things that I didn’t know. The small things that you don’t recognize in a game. Helped me mentally a lot.
Q: How soon before you reach out to Stefen Wisniewski and ask about the Raiders?
A: I was just living with Stef Wisniewski at the offseason training up at Penn State. I stayed with him, and I was asking him about the Raiders. He had nothing but good things to say, and now I can be his teammate again. It’s a good feeling.
Q: You had a dip in production your junior year. What happened there?
A: I got hurt. I sprained a ligament in my right foot and it was just hard, because instead of having the surgery, I decided to let it heal a little bit and try and come back. I didn’t give myself enough time to heal up and I could never play up to my full potential.
Q: When did you make the transition in your mind from basketball player to football player?
A: It was the first year I played. Stepping on that football field for the first time, it was a feeling I never had before. I like how it was physical game. I grew up playing rugby and stepping on the football field, there was just a lot more excitement. When I started to get more of a feel for the game, I became more and more intrigued by it.
Q: Did you watch football growing up?
A: A little bit. Not so much. I couldn’t really follow it like you can in America.
Q: Because you haven’t played a lot, do you feel like you have a lot of room to grow?
A: That’s the one thing about me, I always feel like I have room to improve. That’s my mindset. And that’s what’s gotten me to where I am now.
Q: How did you discover football? What was the reason you played for the first time?
A: Just watching a game in high school, it looked fun. I liked the contact, the physical part of it, that’s what brought me over to the sport.
Q: How does a guy go from not playing football to being recruited by Penn State in two years?
A: (Laughs) That’s crazy, man. My high school coach told me, when I stepped on the field, just told me a little bit about the positions I’d be playing, defensive end and wide receiver and then he just told me, on defense, just go get the ball. And that’s what I did for him. Every play I lined up, I took off and try to get back to the running back as much as possible. And one thing I think helped me was just my work ethic. I used to always do the extra part just to try to get better.
Q: What did the Raiders coaches say to you when they got you on the phone?
A: They said, congratulations. They said, We expect you to keep showing us the motor that you showed on the tape. Keep working harder now you’re here because this is about football now; celebrate with your family for tonight and then get ready for mini-camp when it starts because it’s about football.
Q: What were you trying to prove to scouts and coaches through this process?
A: I think the biggest thing I’m trying to show is that, I think physically I’m just as able as any other defensive end in the draft and I think that whatever they need me to do, whatever they want me to do, I’m not going to stop working until I get to that point where they’re satisfied and I’m satisfied with my performance. I really want to bring a lot to the table and I think that I’m happy that I got drafted, but for me this is the beginning. This is where I have to improve myself so I can help the Raiders and hopefully help us win the Super Bowl.
Q: Preparing to not get drafted, what’s this process been like for you?
A: It’s crazy, it’s weird because I don’t know what the coaches think. I don’t know how people rank different players and stuff and I don’t know what different coaches want. I talk to different teams with different rankings and you just never know. So a lot of these mock drafts, I don’t like to look at them, but a lot of them had me going undrafted or sixth round, seventh round, and I just kind of been hoping for the best the whole time, kind of prayed and hoped everything went well. But when I finally got the call, the waiting was hard my while family was here, I had to watch it. But when I got that phone call it was just a relief. Now I really get an opportunity to showcase what I have.
Q: Where are you right now?
A: I’m at my family’s place in New Jersey, my host family, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Q: Did your whole family move to America from England?
A: My real family still lives in London. They still live there and I keep in contact with them, closely. Ever since I’ve lived in America I’ve lived with a host family, like a big Italian family and they treat me like their family, they treat me like real family out there so I feel lucky. I feel blessed to be with them and for them, they support me and treat me like their son.
Q: What’s the name of that family?
Q: You grew up in London, Aresenal supporter?
A: Yeah, yeah (laughs).
Q: Thank you, congratulations.
A: Thank you so much, man.